Boulder Valley, Northern Colorado counties see continued historically low unemployment
DENVER — Despite grumblings about a potential slowdown in the national economy later this year, the job market in Colorado continues full steam ahead.
The Centennial State’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point from February to March to 2.8%, outpacing the national March rate of 3.5%, according to figures released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
“Colorado’s unemployment rate has been below 3% for 11 consecutive months and remains at pre-pandemic levels,” CLDE said.
In March, the number of unemployed Coloradans fell by 1,700 to 91,000 and the labor force participation rate rose slightly to 68.5%.
“The employment to population ratio and labor force participation rate are increasing at impressive rates, one of the highest in the nation,” CLDE senior economist Ryan Gedney said. “The unemployment rate is where it was pre-pandemic. We’re basically at a point where anyone who wants a job can find a job. It’s an extremely tight labor market.”
Muddying the water a bit, a different survey of the economy shows that private sector payroll jobs decreased by 6,200, while the government added 1,500 jobs.
“It is odd to see that large of a loss,” Gedney said. “… There certainly is a divergence” between two labor market data sets that “typically tend to trend together.”
Gedney said that he puts more weight behind the positive unemployment numbers, but there could be some indication that the overall labor market could see some weakening in coming months.
In the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado, the job market is even tighter than the state as a whole.
Boulder County led the way locally in March with a non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 2.3%, down from 2.7% in February. Broomfield and Larimer counties March and February rates were both 2.4% and 2.9%, respectively; and Weld County’s were 2.8% and 3.4%.
Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees grew from 32.9 to 33.1 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $33.72 to $35.21, more than $2 ahead of the national average hourly earnings of $33.18.